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Common Plumbing Questions

What is Hard Water?

Water is considered "hard" when it contains a high level of dissolved minerals. In the Las Vegas Valley, the two nontoxic minerals that cause our hard water are calcium and magnesium. They're carried into Lake Mead from the mineral-dense Colorado River and do not pose a health risk.

The hardness of Las Vegas Valley Water District water is about 285 parts per million (ppm) or16.7 grains per gallon, categorized as "very hard." (per the Las Vegas Valley Water District website)


What are the effects of hard water?

Hard water can damage pipes and showerheads slowly over time because of the buildup of lime and calcium. As time goes on, these kinds of deposits can clog the pipes and jets of your faucets and shower, making the water flow slow to a drip or even start a leak. Faucets that drip can leave hard water stains on your sinks that are very difficult to eliminate and can also damage rubber washers. It can also gum up the inner workings of the faucet, causing clogs and other problems that can lead to costly repairs.

I am getting no hot water from my gas water heater.

The pilot light may be out, or you may have a faulty thermocouple or gas valve. If you’ve checked the pilot light and it is on, call your neighborhood service plumber at Jack Dish Plumbing 702-283-2320.

I am not getting enough hot water from my hot water heater.

The temperature control may be set too low. Otherwise it’s generally a faulty heating element or thermostat. If that is the case, call your neighborhood service plumber at Jack Dish Plumbing.

How can I tell if I need a water heater replacement?

You should think about having your water heater replaced if you notice any of the following signs:


  • Rust colored water or any discoloration

  • Lack of hot water

  • Moisture or leaking around the base of your water heater

  • Noises such as popping

How much water is wasted from a dripping faucet?

A single drop from once faucet may not seem like a lot. In fact, it takes 15,140 drops to equal a single gallon. But think about it this way:


  • If you have one faucet that leaks 10 times a minute, that’s 14,400 drips per day – 347 gallons per year from a single faucet!

  • Multiply that by three faucets and it’s over 1,000 gallons!


If you want to figure out how much your faucet is leaking, count how many times it drips in a minute. Once you figure that out, you can figure out how many times it drips per hour – number of drips x 60 – or per day – drips x 1440. From there, you can divide the total number of drips into 15,140 to get the number of gallons you could save by calling Jack Dish Plumbing!

Can leaks get bigger over time?

Yes. Water leaking out of your pipes or fixtures will eventually cause enough corrosion that even a pinhole-sized leak can eventually grow and potentially cause damage to your home.

Is there anything I shouldn’t put down my toilet?

You really shouldn’t put ANYTHING down your toilet, except what’s supposed to go down there. Avoid putting in things like:


  • Baby wipes, napkins, facial tissue or paper towels. While these will flush fine, they don’t break down the way toilet tissue does and will cause clogs or damage.

  • Sanitary products or diapers

  • Q-tips, cotton balls or dental floss

  • Hair

  • Food scrap

  • Small toys

  • Cat litter 

How do I tell if my toilet is leaking water?

Put a few drops of food coloring into the toilet tank and make sure no one uses that toilet for about a half hour. Once the half hour is up, come back and check if any of the food coloring leaked into the bowl. If it has, call Jack Dish Plumbing for toilet repair as soon as you can!

Is there anything I should NOT put down my garbage disposal?

Yes – in fact, there are a lot of things that should never go down a garbage disposal. Fibrous foods, including celery, asparagus and artichokes can wrap around the blades and choke them. In addition, you should avoid putting down:


  • Potato skins

  • Bone fragments and eggshells

  • Banana peels

  • Fats / grease

  • Unpopped popcorn kernels

  • Onion skins

  • Fruit pits and seeds

  • Stringy vegetables like asparagus and celery

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